Unit 3: Week 1 reflections

After kicking off the student-led seminars, the ‘Balancing Act’ of John, Tom , Brendan and myself can now participate in the next one, ‘Institutional and Pedagogical Systems and Models’, run by Team Sydney.

I have found this week interesting on two levels: first, in reading about the various strategies different organisations have to support the online learner. Coming from a high school background, where I was just a lowly teacher and not much involved in major policies, it was interesting to see how institutions outside my sphere of experience tackle this subject.

The second level of interest for me, however, has been watching and interacting with the teaching content. I see Team Sydney are also using a Moodle book and forum, but they cleverly (I think) added a Glossary activity too. Although it is marked as ‘a bit of fun’ I think it works well as an icebreaker in the course. I noticed early on a couple of people had added entries to the glossary even though nobody contributed to the discussion forum yet. I suspect participants were relieved to find something they could do quickly, and without much thought, to get involved in the course and show willing, without having to digest the readings in the book.

I was also interested to see how the participation in the discussion forum evolved. When we did our fortnight, I was panicking a bit by Tuesday because nobody had posted to the discussion. (In my day job I am used to  frequent forum interaction, but the situation is a very different) I noticed people were slow to post in this module too. Part of that might be pressure of work, of course, and it’s been mentioned that participation increases significantly over the weekend, but I wondered too if it might be that people were a bit shy or waiting for someone else to take the plunge? So on Wednesday evening I bit the bullet and posted a couple of contributions – and by Thursday others had joined in. My contributions were not particularly good, but they at least prompted much better thought out responses by others, so that was useful. Now I need to post again but with something more considered 🙂

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